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A Workman’s Effort at Robinson

For family reasons, longtime Rams’ track and field, cross country coach Jeremy Workman steps down.

Jeremy Workman, for several years, had been considering stepping down as head coach of the Robinson Secondary School track and field/cross country programs in order to spend more quality time with his family. Now, following the conclusion of the recent outdoor spring season, the popular coach has made it official that he is relinquishing his coaching duties.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a number of years and was putting it off,” said Workman, a 1987 Chantilly High graduate who has been a head coach at Robinson since 1995. “I’ve got kids ages seven and two. With the nature of being a cross country and track and field coach, I couldn’t juggle everything. I have excellent assistant coaches. I thought it was time I could step down and let other people take over.”

Workman will continue his duties as a physical education teacher at Robinson. The schools’ new cross country head coach will be 1999 Robinson graduate Kim Coffield, an assistant coach on Workman’s staff in recent years and a former runner at Virginia Tech.

The school is still in the process of selecting a new indoor/outdoor season head track and field coach, according to Robinson director of student activities Marty Riddle.

Workman, as a high school runner at Chantilly during the mid ‘80s, competed in such events as the 400 and 200-meters. His head coaches while with the Chargers were Glenn Bayless and Ken Kincade.

Workman was part of a Chantilly boys’ outdoor team that finished second, behind champion Stuart, in the old Potomac District in 1986. He was named boys’ team MVP as a senior. Workman ultimately went on to run at Virginia Tech (Class of 1992) where he concentrated on the 400 and 800 running events.

He became Robinson’s girls’ and boys’ cross country head coach in 1995 and, during his time at the helm of those programs, led the Rams to seven district titles combined, two region crowns and two state championships – with the boys winning states in 1999 and the girls in 2001. On the track and field side, he served as an assistant beginning in 1995 before becoming head coach in 1999.

Most recently, he led the Robinson boys’ team to district and region outdoor titles in 2006.

Workman’s love for his athletes and coaching was superseded in recent years by the concern he felt in spending so much time throughout the school year away from his family. Along with his regular school day of teaching, he spent afternoons and evenings involved with his teams’ practices and competitions. Saturdays were often spent at day-long meets.

“All coaching, particularly in track and field, it’s too much,” he said. “When I came home my son was going to bed.”

Workman and his family – wife Cindy, son Jacob (7) and daughter Chloe (2) – reside in the Fair Lakes area of Fairfax.

“Jacob [is involved in] track, baseball, basketball,” said Workman. “I want to spend some time working with him at a critical age and I couldn’t do that. I don’t want to have regrets. They are only seven and two once. I don’t want to look back when they’re 16, 17, 18, and say, `I wish I was with them a little more when they were younger.’”

He said there might be a day when he returns to coaching.

“The door will always be open to coach and I can do it later [in life],” he said. “I’m still going to follow [the program] and be around to help the new coaches if they need it. I’ve had great support at Robinson from the administration and the parents as well.”

<b>WORKMAN’S STRENGTH</b> as a head coach, besides his technical knowledge and passion for running and track and field, has been his ability to relate with people – his own athletes, members of his coaching staff, as well as rival school personnel and the Robinson community in general.

“In any organization that’s run well, a lot of times it comes down to the relationships,” said Riddle. “Jeremy did an excellent job there – whether it was with his coaches or the athletes. He’s able to bring out the best in people. [His stepping down] is a big loss for us, but I’m happy for Jeremy.”

Workman had a fervent desire to see his athletes get the most out of their athletic experience at Robinson.

“He just cares so much for the kids,” said Coffield, a former member of Workman’s Robinson teams and, for the past four years, a part of his coaching staff. “He has put in countless hours. The kids love him. His demeanor in some ways is reserved but the kids respect him. We’ll miss him.”

Coffield, following college at Tech, served as an assistant track coach at Christiansburg High School outside of Blacksburg. When she had the opportunity to join Workman’s coaching staff at Robinson, she jumped at it.

“I was really excited about coming back and working for coach Workman, and having the opportunity to learn from him,” she said. “I was so impressed with the way he handled practices every day.”

Kelley Devlin, a former Robinson assistant coach under Workman who currently is part of the coaching staff at Centreville High School, said Workman’s enthusiasm for track and field is infectious.

“He has had such a successful program at Robinson because he is so well-liked, respected and admired by so many athletes at Robinson,” said Devlin. “Hundreds of students flock out for each season because of the tremendous amount of success that the cross country and track and field programs have. I thoroughly enjoyed coaching with him for six years, he taught me so much about distance running and was the best role model and mentor I could possibly have. He will be truly missed by the Robinson track and field athletes and in the region. He has done so much good for the sport and has instilled excellent work ethics, values and life lessons for athletes to carry with them forever.”

Workman teaches running as a lifelong activity, not just suited for high school or college athletes. Coffield said she fell in love with running as a result of her high school experience.

“The biggest thing he taught us about running is that it’s a lifelong activity – not something that stops when you graduate,” she said. “It’s a fantastic sport and it’s something kids can do their whole lives and have fun with.”

Riddle said Workman’s day to day coaching presence will be missed.

“I know Jeremy has a great passion for track and has done an outstanding job at Robinson,” said Riddle. “He has had a big impact on Northern Region track. I also know Jeremy wants to spend more time with his family. I respect Jeremy for that.”

Workman’s coaching experience at Robinson was a wonderful one.

“I’ve enjoyed being at Robinson and working with the different kids,” said Workman, who has seen over 30 of his athletes go on to compete at the NCAA Div. 1 level. “We always had a very large program, and that kind of reflected the school. The program gave kids a positive outlet to work on sports.”

Workman kept so many youngsters on his teams that as many as four school busses were needed to transport the team to invitational meets outside of the area.

“Management wise, it was a little tough,” said Workman, with a laugh. “Only about a half of the [team members] would run at the meet, but the others were still a part of it and got something out of it.”

Workman also got a lot out of leading his student-athletes, but now he is ready to move on.

“Robinson is certainly a place I’ve enjoyed most and it was difficult walking away from the kids,” he said. “It hasn’t hit me yet. I don’t think it will until cross country season comes around. I feel I made the decision for the right reasons.”